Tag Archives: laundry

Another Untold Tale of the Laundromat Game

7 Apr

NEW April 7, 2011

Maybe it’s just me. I go to the Laundromat and I get hit on by old ladies, glared at by guys who can’t answer a Jeopardy! question

**BELCH!**

and run into my old boss, who pretends not to see me while I pretend not to see her. They also tend to lose my laundry but that seems quite normal

**BELCH!**

compared to the other things that have happened to me there.

For reasons best left unasked I’ve since changed Laundromats. This one seemed a bit more normal. The people going there are a bit more business-like, at least in terms of their wash. They put their stuff in the washer, sit and

**BELCH!** Oh!

watch TV or wait outside, then put the wash in the dryer, sit and wait, take their clothes out, fold, and leave. The downside is that there are more people dragging their kids to this one as it is in the middle of a residential neighborhood as opposed to the old one which was in a strip mall. It seems like there is always some kid racing up and down the place and trying to shove a toy at you for no good reason.

This particular day seemed to be going better than most. Oh sure, there was a lot of rain that day, and yeah, the news was full of the usual horror and mayhem, but in my own private little world things were going well. I was

**BELCH!** Phhheeew **BELCH!** Oh!

GODDAMMIT I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! If that woman belches one more friggin’ time I am going to stuff her socks so far down her throat that she’ll be belching lint by the time I’m through with her. Man, what the Hell does she

**BELCH!**

A little bit of background and some architectural context before I get back to my rant.

The main part of this Laundromat is a long rectangle. Washers line the long wall on the left, dryers line the long wall on the right. You enter from one short end and you are facing the other short end upon whose wall hangs a large TV. There are four tables going across the rectangle the short way, so that if you are folding your clothes you are either facing the TV or have your back to it depending on which side of the table you are on.

In between the tables are rows of chairs, the plastic kind that are linked together in groups of five. They alternate- tables, chairs, tables, chairs. There is more than enough room between the tables so that if you are sitting in the chairs you are not being bumped into by people moving behind you or have laundry flapping in your face when they fold. It is a good arrangement because there are enough tables for everyone and you have plenty of room to move while folding. While sitting you can stretch your legs a bit and not trip anyone.

The only drawback is that when it is crowded people sitting in the chairs may not be able to see the TV because the people standing and folding their clothes can block them. However, I have never seen the place that crowded and I’ve never had my view blocked nor blocked anyone.

On this particular day I went to fold my clothes and noticed that a woman had seated herself in the row of chairs behind me. It wasn’t a problem. She was seated near the far end of the row and I used the end of the table away from her so as to be polite and not block the TV.

I had seen here there before a couple of times. She looked and acted a bit on the oddball side but still in the normal range. Physically she was about my height but much heavier. She dressed a bit roughly but on laundry day I’ve been known to wear sweat pants and a hospital scrub top so I didn’t hold it against her. She was obviously a mother, I assume, due to the children’s clothing she was washing. (If there is another explanation keep it to yourself.) There was never really anything I could put my finger on but she just had an oddball vibe about her. I’ll give you two examples.

The first time I noticed her was when she asked me if I had a quarter for some change. She was one quarter short for her laundry. I did and held it out to her and then she got very apologetic that she only had two quarters to give me in return. “Is it all right? Are you sure? Really, are you sure it’s all right? I’m five cents short. You really don’t mind? I can get five more cents somewhere.” I really didn’t mind and gave her the quarter for her two dimes.

I saw her again once or twice but on one occasion she spilled some detergent and went to the woman running the place to get a mop so she could clean it up. The woman in charge wanted to clean it but the customer refused and insisted on cleaning it herself. Nice. Nothing wrong there, rather polite. Problem was the woman suddenly got very busy with a shipment that came in, big boxes of laundry supplies. The odd woman started to fret that someone would slip (again, nice) even though there were only a handful of people there and we all saw the spill and were in fact on the other side of the store. The woman finally made a homemade mop out of a broom and a rag she found in a sink and tried to clean up the spill but only succeeded in spreading it.

Again, not too odd, hard to put a finger on it, but I wondered why she didn’t wipe up the laundry detergent with one of the towels that she had in her basket and was going to put in the wash anyway. And if the towels got full of detergent, big deal. That was already going to happen in the washer.

So I knew the woman by sight and made sure to stand out of her way so she could see the TV and I started folding when

 **BELCH!**

she let out a really loud belch. OK. It happens. It would have been nice to get an excuse me though. Less than a minute later

**BELCH!**

it happened again, this time followed by a little “oh!”

I looked around to see if I could catch anyone else’s eye but the rest of the people doing their wash were in the front part of the store behind me. If you still have that little diagram of the store in your mind’s eye, I was at the table closest to the TV, facing it. The belching woman was in the chairs behind me and to my left, and everyone else was behind her.

I sighed a little and kept

**BELCH!** Pheeew

folding, now through gritted teeth. Ever try to fold when your hands are clenched into fists? I was really getting annoyed and was peeking at her out of the corner of my eye. Maybe she was sick. Maybe she had a gastrointestinal problem. She was a really heavy woman, obese. Maybe this was due to a medical condition. It didn’t excuse her impoliteness at not at least saying excuse me- or moving outside- but it would at least be an explanation.

Well I peeked out of the corner of my eye and got an explanation.

She was belching because she was taking swigs out of a can of Coke and belched after every drink. Every drink, a belch.

**BELCH!**

NOW I WAS PISSED. It was totally disgusting. I was still folding but I was also waiting for the next shoe to drop. If the soda made her so gassy that she had to let out a loud gross belch then logic says STOP DRINKING THE DAMN SODA.

I was folding a towel and trying to watch the news on the TV (next story- man assaults belching woman in Laundromat) when

**BEEEEELCHuhhhhhhhERP!** Oooof!

This time I turned around. The woman was belching in the act of standing up. She had heaved herself to her feet and finding herself upright, let out that “oooof!” as if the effort was just too much. And seeing that she was as big as one of the large machines there it was probably justified. But nothing justified the senses-and-sensibility barrage unleashed upon me by her gassy stomach. It could have been worse, I suppose. That gas could have come out of her ass.

She walked to the far corner of the laundry, soda can in tow, and bent down and started taking some dry wash out of a dryer. When she bent I expected the mother of all belches but it stayed quiet.

I finished my folding quick as a shot and got the Hell out of Dodge.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. I should do my laundry at home.

Tales of the Laundromat Game

27 Dec

December 27, 2010

Longtime readers of my blog, if any survive, may recall that I’ve written extensively about my adventures in the Laundromat. Here is were I pissed off a guy watching Jeopardy, and this is the blog where I ran into an old boss and we both pretended not to see each other. There are a few more, but you can look them up in the index. On the other hand, maybe you shouldn’t. Your mental health is a precious thing.

This particular tale is a bit of an oddity as I didn’t hang around in the Laundromat  but simply dropped off my stuff and left. We do this for things like towels and sheets, things that accumulate to loads so large that it is cheaper to let the Laundromat do them for us than to use three machines and fold fold fold all day. I have better things to do with my time, like… I’ll get back to you.

On this particular occasion, my load was relatively small, just a comforter and a pair of bed ruffles. Bed ruffles are cool because they hide all the junk I kick under my bed while simultaneously allowing me to indulge in my frilly feminine side. Um, if I had one, I mean. The comforter is so big that it is just a pain to wash and dry so I let them do it. All of this was shoved into a yellow laundry bad with a small (large)  rip in it near the seam where the string runs.  No, I am not being cheap by not buying a new laundry bag. So what if I can’t pull it closed, it still holds the laundry, right? Get off my back, me.

So to reiterate for those of you already bored by this but haven’t yet surfed over to TMZ, the load I dropped off at the Laundromat consisted of:
1- a black and grey comforter,
2- two blue bed ruffles
3- a yellow bag, the comforter and ruffles within.

They handed me a receipt and said it would be ready the next day.

How could anything go wrong?

I actually had a problem with this place once before. I dropped off a load of laundry containing a mix of towels, sheets, and one comforter (again with the comforter). Like always, I put the sack on the scale, they weighed it, asked my for my phone number and put it all into their Super Bat-Laundry Computer (remember this, it gets important later) and it spit out a receipt with my phone number on top (remember this, it gets important later) and the price on the bottom. They then attached a copy of that receipt (with my phone number on top- remember this, it gets important later)  to my laundry. I left, happy and secure in the knowledge that when I returned in a few days I would have nice clean laundry.

When I returned a few days later I did not have nice clean laundry.

I handed the guy behind the counter the slip. He started to look at all the bags behind the counter. “It’s a yellow bag,” I said, trying to be helpful. He kept looking at all the bags. (Remember this too, as well as the phone number thing, it will be also important later. Is this annoying?)

The bag wasn’t behind the counter, nor was it in the bask of the store, not was it, I swear, under the tiny pile of mail he peeked under either. Turns out the bag was right under his nose. Or right under his knees, at any rate. The bag was under the counter. And it was not washed.

The guy read the slip and told me that they didn’t wash it. I could see that. Why wasn’t it washed? Because the laundry had a comforter in it. Ah, Ok. Huh?

While most loads get charged by the pound, comforters are done at a flat rate of $10 each. So the bag had the wrong price on it. After finding the bag the guy explained it all to me, took out the comforter, reweighed the bag, and added ten bucks. It was all ready a couple of days later.

Are you satisfied with that story? Is something niggling at the back of you brain? Forget anything? Hey- I told you to remember the phone number. Three times! This Laundromat had my phone number and for whatever reason they simply shoved my bag under the counter instead of, and this would have made a whole lot sense, calling me to straighten it out. It is what a good business does.

As I was to find out, this is not a good business.

Let’s jump forward, shall we? To the actual point of this blog, the yellow bag with the comforter and the pair of bed ruffles I dropped off about ten paragraphs and a million brain cells back.

About a week after dropping it off, I went back for my laundry. Why didn’t I go back sooner? When was the last time you heard of one comforter and two bed ruffles being a rush job? I do my laundry and dry cleaning once a week on Saturdays, so sue me. It wasn’t like I didn’t have another comforter sleep under.

But I digress.

I handed the guy behind the counter the slip. He started to look at all the bags behind the counter. “It’s a yellow bag,” I said, trying to be helpful. He kept looking at all the bags. (Remember this too, as well as the phone number thing, it will be also important later. Is this annoying?)

The bag wasn’t behind the counter, nor was it in the bask of the store, not was it, I swear, under the tiny pile of mail he peeked under either.

Recognize that? That’s the beauty of “cut and paste.” Why come up with a new paragraph when THE EXACT SAME THING happened again? I only have so many words in my brain, no need to waste them. I may want to rant and rave about the Laundromat when I’m old and senile.

But yes, the same thing happened again, except that the bag was not under the counter this time. After looking everywhere, the guy had to admit defeat and tell me he couldn’t find my laundry. But just before he could do so, and before I could launch into some kind of Seinfeld-like monologue, somebody came out from the back holding my bag.

I’ve been in this store a lot. I’ve been dropping off my laundry there, and usually getting it back clean, for months. However, I’ve never seen this particular Morlock before. She and/or he was about four feet tall but with the feet of a giant. the hair was a strange combination of dreadlocks and ironed flat. The clothes seemed to be from the 80’s. The 1880’s. This creature hauled my bag out of the back, grunted, and dropped it at the counter guy’s feet.

The guy handed me the bag and charged me ten dollars, which I paid despite my better judgment. Why? First, the price could not be right. Ten was the price of the comforter, but what about the ruffles? Second, the bag was not neatly tied like every bag they return. It was hanging open like when I brought it in. Third, the comforter wasn’t folded, it seemed to have been just shoved in the bag, just as I had brought it in. Clearly, something was wrong. I had a strong suspicion that the laundry was not washed.

So why did I pay? I’m not sure. The whole thing seemed so surreal I just wanted to get my stuff and get out. I had already decided that I was never coming back.

Yet I did go back.
The very next day.

All day it was pissing me off that I paid ten dollars and got my dirty laundry in return. So the next day I went back to the Laundromat and spoke to the other counter person. She pulled out the receipts and showed me that they indicated that my load was washed. It had a washer number, a dryer number, and a time. I told her that my nose indicated that the bag did not smell like it was washed, my eyes indicated that it was not folded, and my mouth indicated that I wanted either my laundry done or my ten dollars back. She told me that she’d have to talk to the boss, who wouldn’t be in until late the next afternoon.

What kind of place is this where the person running it doesn’t have the authority to rewash a comforter for a disgruntled regular customer? And over a measly ten dollars? Don’t answer, those are just rhetorical questions and don’t require answers  (like “when did you stop beating your wife,” and “how fucked up is congress?”). So I left the stuff and came back a couple of days later, which happened to be Christmas Eve.

Perhaps that explained the present I received from the Laundromat: a brand new laundry bag.

Well, no, not really. It wasn’t a new laundry bag, it was an old laundry bag which I had never seen before. Inside were my comforter, all nicely folded, and my two bed ruffles, neat and clean. They were inside a large blue plastic recycling bag, which had then been placed in a sort of shabby and clearly used square laundry bag, the kind that stands on its own and looks like a suitcase, if a suitcase could be said to be foldable and made of plaid plastic.

I told the woman that it wasn’t my bag. She got one of those “here we go again” looks on her face and said “I don’t believe those guys” so it wasn’t me she was pissed at. She looked around for my bag and I told her to forget it, the bag was ripped anyway (but still in better shape than the thing we got back.) So I took the laundry, in the blue recycling bag, and left the other thing behind.

I just wonder what is going to happen when someone gets their laundry in my old bag.

I just don’t see how it happened. When I do the laundry the last thing I toss in the machine is the laundry bag. Who wants to put clean laundry back into a dirty bag? So why wouldn’t a professional place do the bag too?

So three strikes and they’re out. In my area there are three other Laundromats within walking distance, and one has a big parking lot so I don’t even have to walk.

On the other hand, as I’ve said before, maybe I should do my laundry at home.

%d bloggers like this: